Uganda has scrapped work permit fees and visa requirements for Kenyans and Rwandans entering and leaving the country.
The decision is in line with the ongoing implementation of the “free movement” system under the East African Community Common Market Protocol that was signed in 2009 by presidents Museveni (Uganda), Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.
The commissioner for Immigration Control in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mr Anthony Namara, told Saturday Monitor on Thursday that nationals of the two countries will also not be required to produce visas or other travel documents to enter Uganda except their respective national Identity Cards.
He said Kenya and Rwanda are already implementing the “free travel” system, which is intended to promote tourism in the region and also allow free movement of professionals across the three countries.
“We are yet to agree on the category of people who can move freely. At first, we had said we will allow managers, professionals, artisans and people in related fields but we want to subdivide these categories; for example which specific kind of manager can move,” Mr Namara noted.
Tanzania and Burundi are not catered for in this arrangement of work permits and visa requirements.
In September last year, East African professional bodies signed agreements allowing the movement of select professionals such as engineers, accountants and architects in any of the five countries.
Attempts to reach Kenyan authorities were futile by press time. But the Rwandan ambassador to Uganda, Maj. Gen Frank Mugambage, commended the development and said his country had done it earlier.
Mr Namara urged Ugandans to use their national identity cards or voter cards to cross into Kenya or Rwanda.